I’m admittedly obsessive about this, but still … interesting stuff on hacking your desk posture.
On forgetting, Keynes, and the current economy, from Paul Krugman at Voxeu.
Mr Keynes and the moderns
Keynes’ General Theory is 75 years old. In this column, Paul Krugman argues that many of its insights and lessons are still relevant today, but many have been forgotten. A broad swath of macroeconomists and policymakers are applying old fallacies to today’s crisis. As the nostrums being applied by the “pain caucus” are visibly failing, Keynesian ideas may yet make a comeback.
It’s a great honour to be asked to give this talk, especially because I’m arguably not qualified to do so. I am, after all, not a Keynes scholar, nor any kind of serious intellectual historian. Nor have I spent most of my career doing macroeconomics. Until the late 1990s my contributions to that field were limited to international issues; although I kept up with macro research, I avoided getting into the frontline theoretical and empirical disputes. By contrast I probably do have a better sense than most technically competent economists of the arguments that actually drive political discourse and policy. And this discourse currently involves many of the same issues Keynes grappled with 75 years ago. We are – frustratingly – retracing much of the same ground covered in the 1930s. The Treasury view is back; liquidationism is once again in full flower. We’re having to relearn the seeming paradox of liquidity-preference versus loanable-funds models of interest rates.
What I want to do in this lecture is talk first, briefly, about how to read Keynes – or rather about how I like to read him. I’ll talk next about what Keynes accomplished in The General Theory, and how some current disputes recapitulate old arguments that Keynes actually settled. I’ll follow with a discussion of some crucial aspects of our situation now – and arguably our situation 75 years ago – that are not in the General Theory, or at least barely mentioned. And finally, I’ll reflect on the troubled path that has led us to forget so much of what Keynes taught us.
I’m entirely with Brad on this. I get this all the time lately, and the closing media/diligence “Is there anything I didn’t ask you”? question irritates the crap out of me.
Here’s why I think it’s a stupid question. You are calling me for diligence on someone. Presumably you have specific things you are interested in. You’ve either done research on our previous relationship or you want me to fill you in on that. You then use this to pursue whatever line of questioning you have. If you are inquisitive and capable of reasoning, my answers will open up more questions. Eventually you will have enough information or will have reached a conclusion. If I’ve been doing my job I’ve been concentrating on answering your questions, not trying to follow your path of inquiry.
Now, while we are at the end of the inquiry, you ask me an open ended question in search of something magical. Maybe I’ll finally tell you the deep, dark, negative secret about the person that I’ve been withholding. Or I’ll come up with some incredible insight about the person that hadn’t come out in your previous line of questioning. I suppose this happens occasionally, and maybe it’s worth asking the question just on the off chance that something yummy will pop out. But I just find this an annoying way to end the conversion, so my answer from here on out is “nope.”
- Latest bubblish sign: Startup-seeking university dropouts on the rise – http://t.co/yLKaK2F #FT ->
- Pithy @wrongologist on quant lit: I mostly vacillated between two reactions: “Huh?” and “Duh!” http://nyti.ms/mMD1iQ ->
- As aside, I"m out doing some hiking/biking/climbing, but buried in unsolicited deal flow. Increasingly frightening stuff, harking to 1999. ->
- Epic read: A Brief History of the Corporation: 1600 to 2100 – http://bit.ly/jhsi3s ->
- Proposed PROTECT IP legislation is misdirected, overreaching and clumsy – http://bit.ly/iWXHBK ->
In modern Western Society where we hide our sick and dying in hospitals or similar institutions, we cannot even begin to comprehend the impact of [the Black Death] to a society, such as that of the Middle Ages, where squalor, poverty and disease were part of the quotidian patterns of life.
Source: Ruiz TF. The Terror of History: On the Uncertainties of Life in Western Civilization. Princeton University Press; 2011:232. Available at: http://www.amazon.com/Terror-History-Uncertainties-Western-Civilization/dp/0691124132
On 8 June, a Scottish banker named Alexander Fordyce shorted the collapsing Company’s shares in the London markets. But a momentary bounce-back in the stock ruined his plans, and he skipped town leaving £550,000 in debt. Much of this was owed to the Ayr Bank, which imploded. In less than three weeks, another 30 banks collapsed across Europe, bringing trade to a standstill. On July 15, the directors of the Company applied to the Bank of England for a £400,000 loan. Two weeks later, they wanted another £300,000. By August, the directors wanted a £1 million bailout. The news began leaking out and seemingly contrite executives, running from angry shareholders, faced furious Parliament members. By January, the terms of a comprehensive bailout were worked out, and the British government inserted its czars into the Company’s management to ensure compliance with its terms.
If this sounds eerily familiar, it shouldn’t. The year was 1772, exactly 239 years ago today, the apogee of power for the corporation as a business construct. The company was the British East India company (EIC). The bubble that burst was the East India Bubble. Between the founding of the EIC in 1600 and the post-subprime world of 2011, the idea of the corporation was born, matured, over-extended, reined-in, refined, patched, updated, over-extended again, propped-up and finally widely declared to be obsolete. Between 2011 and 2100, it will decline — hopefully gracefully — into a well-behaved retiree on the economic scene.
See? You aren’t wasting your time on Twitter: You’re reporting.
Human as Real-Time Sensors of Social and Physical Events: A Case Study of Twitter and Sports Games
Siqi Zhao, Lin Zhong, Jehan Wickramasuriya, Venu Vasudevan
(Submitted on 21 Jun 2011)
In this work, we study how Twitter can be used as a sensor to detect frequent and diverse social and physical events in real-time. We devise efficient data collection and event recognition solutions that work despite various limits on free access to Twitter data. We describe a web service implementation of our solution and report our experience with the 2010-2011 US National Football League (NFL) games. The service was able to recognize NFL game events within 40 seconds and with accuracy up to 90%. This capability will be very useful for not only real-time electronic program guide for live broadcast programs but also refined auction of advertisement slots. More importantly, it demonstrates for the first time the feasibility of using Twitter for real-time social and physical event detection for ubiquitous computing.